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The official opening of the Bulahdelah-Coolongolook section of the Pacific Highway, Bulahdelah, NSW, Sunday 24 October 1999



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Senator, The Honourable 

Ron Boswell 

Parliamentary Secretary to the 

Minister for Transport and Regional Services 

Leader of the National Party in the Senate

24 October 1999 

RB3/99

THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE 

BULAHDELAH-COOLONGOLOOK 

SECTION OF THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY

BULAHDELAH, NSW 

SUNDAY 24 OCTOBER 1999

 

NSW ROADS MINISTER, CARL SCULLY, BOB HORNE, (ALP) FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PATERSON; JOHN TURNER, STATE MEMBER FOR GREAT LAKES; JOHN CHADBAN, MAYOR OF GREAT LAKES; DISTINGUISHED GUESTS; LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

TODAY WE OPEN A NEW SECTION OF ROAD THAT WILL SAVE LIVES, REDUCE COSTS AND ALSO ELIMINATE THE TWO WORST CRASH LOCATIONS ON THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY BETWEEN SYDNEY AND BRISBANE.

THIS DEVIATION IS THE SINGLE LARGEST PROJECT COMPLETED TO DATE AS PART OF THE $2.2 BILLION PACIFIC HIGHWAY UPGRADE. IT TRULY MARKS THE SCOPE AND DEPTH OF THE JOINT COMMONWEALTH-STATE COMMITMENT TO THE UPGRADING PROGRAM THAT IS TRANSFORMING THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY.

JUST AS A WEEK AGO, WE LOOKED WITH PRIDE AND NOSTALGIA AT ONE OF THE DEFINING MOMENTS IN OUR HISTORY — THE COMPLETION OF THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS HYDRO-ELECTRIC SCHEME -I FEEL SURE HISTORIANS WILL ALSO VIEW THE COMMONWEALTH ROADS PROGRAM IN THE SAME LIGHT.

FIFTEEN BILLION DOLLARS HAVE BEEN SPENT ON THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY PROGRAM IN THE PAST 25 YEARS - PLUS MANY MORE BILLIONS THAT HAVE GONE TO GENERAL ROAD ASSISTANCE GRANTS SPENT BY STATES AND COUNCILS.

THIS INCLUDES OVER ONE BILLION SPENT BY THE COMMONWEALTH IN BUILDING THE F 3.

AS PART OF THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY UPGRADING, WE HAVE SEALED 4000 KILOMETRES OF GRAVEL ROADS.

- AND COMPLETED A CONTINUOUS BITUMEN SEAL ROAD AROUND THE CONTINENT IN DECEMBER 1989.

WE HAVE BUILT MORE THAN 1000 KILOMETRES OF FOUR-LANE HIGHWAY AND REPLACED 1000 BRIDGES.

BUT THE BIGGEST SINGLE COMPONENT OF THE CURRENT PROGRAM IS THE COMMONWEALTH PARTICIPATION IN THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY UPGRADING - IT IS THE CENTREPIECE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S ROADS OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE PROGRAM, UNDER WHICH JOINT FUNDING IS OFFERED FOR IMPROVING SELECTED MAJOR FREIGHT ROUTES FOR WHICH THE STATES HAVE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY.

AT LEAST 10 TOWNS WILL BE BYPASSED AND NEW BRIDGES BUILT OVER SEVEN MAJOR RIVERS. PACIFIC HIGHWAY FATALITIES WILL BE MORE THAN HALVED.

FOUR-LANE DIVIDED HIGHWAY CONDITIONS WILL APPLY OVER MUCH OF ITS LENGTH, CUTTING 80 MINUTES FROM THE SYDNEY-BRISBANE JOURNEY.

I KNOW CARL SCULLY REFERS TO IT AS A 2.2 BILLION DOLLAR PROGRAM, BUT INCLUDING A SECTION ON THE QUEENSLAND SIDE OF THE BORDER, ITS TOTAL VALUE EXCEEDS THREE BILLION DOLLARS.

IT IS PROVIDING 4000 DIRECT CONSTRUCTION JOBS AND IS THE LARGEST GOVERNMENT SPONSORED CIVIL ENGINEERING PROJECT SINCE THE SNOWY SCHEME. WITH CONSTRUCTION SPREAD OVER 1000 KILOMETRES, PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF ITS SIGNIFICANCE IS NOT AS GREAT AS IT REALLY IS.

THE TRUE MEASURE OF THIS PROJECT IS NOT IN ITS SCALE, VOLUME OF EARTHWORKS, HEIGHT, LENGTH OR OTHER DIMENSIONS, BUT IN THE BENEFITS THE COMPLETED PROJECT WILL DELIVER TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS REGION, AS WELL AS AUSTRALIANS GENERALLY.

THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY UPGRADING WILL BE A CATALYST FOR A DOUBLING OF THE REGIONAL POPULATION NORTH OF NEWCASTLE IN THE FIRST TWO DECADES OF THE NEXT CENTURY - DELIVERING SAVINGS IN OPERATING COSTS, TRAVEL TIME AND LIVES ESTIMATED AT 3.4 BILLION DOLLARS IN THE LONG-TERM.

EXPECTED INCREASES IN ANNUAL OUTPUT FOR THE STATE’S AGRICULTURE, MANUFACTURING AND TOURISM SECTORS FOLLOWING COMPLETION WILL EXCEED 280 MILLION DOLLARS.

THAT IS SURE PROOF, THAT PRUDENT INVESTMENT IN TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE IS VITAL TO THE PROSPERITY AND WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA.

FOR THIS REASON, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INVESTS HEAVILY IN ROADS - AROUND $800 MILLION ANNUALLY - IN ADDITION TO SIGNIFICANT, BUT UNTIED, GRANTS TO STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT WORTH ANOTHER $800 MILLION A YEAR.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S CONCERN FOR RURAL AUSTRALIA SEES 90 PER CENT OF COMMONWEALTH DIRECT ROAD SPENDING ROADS GO TO NON-URBAN AREAS.

NEW SOUTH WALES ROADS ARE RECEIVING MORE THAN HALF A BILLION DOLLARS IN FEDERAL FUNDING THIS YEAR - INCLUDING $60 MILLION FOR THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY ALONE.

WITH THE COMPLETION OF THIS PROJECT, AND OTHER JOINTLY FUNDED PACIFIC HIGHWAY WORKS , FURTHER REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT WILL BE STIMULATED.

FAST FREEWAY CONDITIONS TO TAREE AND PORT MACQUARIE, FOR INSTANCE, WILL STIMULATE TOURISM - ALSO ASSISTING DECENTRALISATION.

IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS, IT WILL BE POSSIBLE FOR THE NORTH COAST REGION TO DEVELOP MAJOR FREIGHT CONSOLIDATION AND DISTRIBUTION CENTR ES SERVING SYDNEY, NEWCASTLE, BRISBANE, THE GOLD COAST AND AREAS AROUND TOOWOOMBA.

OPPORTUNITIES EXIST FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION TO ATTRACT MANUFACTURING OPERATIONS THAT RELY HEAVILY ON TIME-SENSITIVE DELIVERY.

EVEN ENTERPRISES THAT SERVE HEAVY TRANSPORT VEHICLES SHOULD BE EXPLORED WITH GREATER CONFIDENCE.

THE RECONSTRUCTED PACIFIC HIGHWAY SUPPORTS NATIONAL POLICY OBJECTIVES TO IMPROVE TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE WHERE THE MODES INTERACT - SUCH AS PORTS AND AIRPORTS.

THIS PROJECT AS WELL AS BEING THE BIGGEST PROJECT COMPLETED IN THE JOINT GOVERNMENT UPGRADING PROGRAM -HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING - THE MOST COMPLEX AND MOST COSTLY AT AROUND 145 MILLION DOLLARS.

CHALLENGING FROM AN ENGINEERING PERSPECTIVE - BUT ALSO ENVIRONMENTALLY AND SOCIALLY.

ON BEHALF OF THE COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT I CONGRATULATE PETER CHATBURN AND HIS TEAM FROM THIESS — THE PRINCIPAL CONTRACTORS.

AMONG THE MANY FIRST OF THIS PROJECT HAS BEEN THE WAY THIESS HAS WORKED WITH A COMMUNITY CONSULTATIVE GROUP.

CONGRATULATIONS GO TO DAVID BAX AND HIS TEAM - AS TOO OFTEN, PROJECTS OF THIS SCALE CAN SWAMP LOCAL CONSIDERATIONS.

CONGRATULATIONS ALSO TO THE WORKERS AND SUB-CONTRACTORS WHO ARE TOO NUMEROUS TO MENTION. I AM SURE THE PRIDE IN WORKMANSHIP THAT WE SAW IN THE EYES OF THE SNOWY WORKERS SPARKLES IN YOUR EYES TODAY. I AM SURE YOU WILL MARK THIS AS ONE OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR WORKING LIVES.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, OWNERSHIP OF THIS PROJECT EXTENDS BEYOND JUST THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND THOSE WHO WORKED UPON IT. IT IS A NATIONALLY SIGNIFICANT PROJECT.

IT WAS BUILT UNDER AN INNOVATIVE BUILD AND MAINTAIN CONTRACT, WHICH ENSURED GOOD VALUE FOR THE TAX DOLLAR.

THE INCENTIVE WAS TO BUILD THE PROJECT TO A HIGH STANDARD INITIALLY, OR FACE THE PROSPECT OF HIGHER MAINTENANCE COSTS OVER THE LIFE OF THE CONTRACT.

W HILE WORKMANSHIP IS OF THE HIGHEST ORDER, SO WAS CARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT - WITH THIS PROJECT WINNING SEVERAL ENVIRONMENTAL AWARDS.

I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE TO COMMIT TO THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY UPGRADING THROUGH ITS FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE COOLONGOLOOK TO WANG WAUK SECTION FURTHER NORTH.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL CONTRIBUTE UP TO $24.6 MILLION TOWARDS THE COST OF CONSTRUCTING TWO ADDITIONAL TRAFFIC LANES OVER 11.8 KM OF THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY BETWEEN COOLONGOLOOK AND THE WANG WAUK RIVER.

CONSTRUCTION IS LIKELY TO START BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR AND BE COMPLETED EARLY IN 2001.

OVERALL, THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT ARE JOINTLY FUNDING ABOUT 20 PROJECTS ALONG THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY- WITH PRIORITY TO SECTIONS WITH A POOR SAFETY RECORD OR HIGH TRAFFIC VOLUMES.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IT GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE TO REPRESENT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AT THIS EVENT TODAY. THIS PROJECT GIVES AN INSIGHT INTO THE STANDARD MOTORISTS CAN EXPECT TO ENCOUNTER ALONG MUCH OF THE PACIFIC HIGHWAY.

IT IS YOUR HIGHWAY TO THE NEXT MILLENNIUM AND AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE THIS COUNTRY NEEDS TO MAINTAIN OUR WORLD COMPETITIVENESS AND REDUCE TRANSPORT COSTS.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS PROUD TO BE A JOINT PARTNER IN FUNDING THIS MAJOR PROJECT AND THE NUMEROUS OTHER IMPROVEMENTS TO THIS ROUTE - AS IT BRINGS LASTING AND POSITIVE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE LIVES OF MANY.

ENDS

 

 

jy  1999-10-26  13:04